Subjects: Behavioral health
Recent studies have shown that sleep-deprived people are 3 times more likely to catch a cold than the well rested and that each hour of rack time above 5 is associated with a 33% drop in the risk of developing (egad) coronary artery disease.
Meanwhile, 40% of Americans believe that getting adequate sleep is as important to overall health and well being as diet and exercise.
It doesn’t matter.
Americans are cutting back on sleep relentlessly.
According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, the number of Americans who average less than six hours a night jumped from 13% to 20% between 2001 and 2008, while the number claiming to get at least eight fell from 38% to 28%.
In addition, 54% of adults-which works out to 110 million licensed drivers-report having driven while drowsy at least once last year. Frighteningly, nearly a third report nodding off or flat out falling asleep while driving a vehicle last year.
“The economy is a major factor why people are losing sleep,” understated sleep expert Raj Kakar to CNN.
To which David Cloud added, “it’s easy to understand why so many people are concerned over the economy and jobs, but sacrificing sleep is the wrong solution.”
The CEO of the National Sleep Foundation added, “sleep is essential for productivity and alertness and is a vital sign for one’s overall health.”
And besides, the sleep-skipping trend antedated the Great Economic Crisis, aided and abetted as it has been by SportsCenter, the Internet, cell phones and Crackberries, not to mention what Wilson Pickett had in mind.
And there’s a macho thing, too.
“Our society has valued people who brag about being able to function on very little sleep as a mark of someone who is aggressive, dynamic, successful,” Neil Kavey, Director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Columbia told CNN.